With their large, bright white, trumpet-shaped flowers, subtle yet notable fragrance, and beautiful simplicity, Easter lilies are a traditional Easter-time bloom that brings brightness to any room.
A little background
The Lilium longiflorum is a native flower from the Southern islands of Japan, having been brought over to North America from a World War I soldier who apparently stuffed his suitcase full of them. The bulbs turned into business when the supply was cut off from Japan due to Pearl Harbour.
What to choose?
- Choose a plant that isn’t in full bloom, preferably a bouquet with buds and partially opened flowers. This ensures they’ll be around for a bit. (This, by the way, goes for all flowers).
- Check for forms of decay, like chewed leaves, dark spots, or wilting. Your flowers should be as clear as possible.
- Dense foliage with bright colours means it’s healthy. Be sure to check for signs of discoloration, such as yellowing stems.
- The plant should be two-times the size of the pot. If it’s larger, the pot will be stressed, causing a poor environment for your flowers to thrive.
Taking care of your Easter Lily
- Keep your plant in a bright room, but out of direct sunlight
- Opt for a location away from drafts and heat sources
- Remove the yellow anthers from the middle of the flower, which adds to its longevity
- Daytime temperatures about 65F will add to the life of the bloom.
- Water your lily when the soil becomes dry to the touch. Make sure it doesn’t dry out.
- Remove flowers as they wither.
Planting your lily outdoors
Once all the flowers are withered, and frost has disappeared, choose a well-draining spot in your garden that is susceptible to sunlight. Plant the lily in neutral soil about the same depth as it was in the pot. Add a 2″ layer of mulch.
The original leaves will start to brown, and when this occurs, cut it down to the healthy part of the green leaf.
After it blooms that season, cut the lily to soil level, top with bulb fertilizer, then add more mulch. In the next Spring, remove the mulch, add a fertilizer when growth appears, continuing until the lily reblooms, about June/July.
Of course, the Easter lilies that we know aren’t the only kinds of beautiful lilies. Chances are, you’re familiar with many more of them than you think.
Here are a few great resources to get you started with lilies (Easter or not) this Spring:
Image courtesy of pbase.com/gpc/image/28966354